Predators go hunting

LEWISTOWN – Six was the magic number for the Lewistown Predators on Monday night as it opened its contest against Mifflin County foe Milroy with an early 6-0 lead.

That would be all starting pitcher Nate Saltzer would need as he held Milroy to three runs off of two hits in a 22-3, four-inning contest.

“Its good to break out the bats. We have been struggling at the plate the last few weeks,” coach Sean Heckert said. “Nate is one of our better pitchers so we always expect good things out of him. He threw a real good game and Tanner (Kibe) did a real good job finishing things up.”

Lewistown pounded out a total of 23 hits on the afternoon and everyone in the Predators’ starting line up picked up with at least one hit; eight tallied at least two.

Leading the way offensively for Lewistown were Ryan Keefer (4-for-5) and Cody Heane (4-for-4).

Kibe led the victors with four RBIs while teammates Hunter Thompson, Heane, Chris Drobnick and Heckert all finished with three each.

Saltzer gave up only two hits on the afternoon, one from Kalen Gearheart and one from Matt Lutz.

In the first inning, the Predators got things going on a simple base on balls by Andy Georgeson. Heckert also walked, putting Georgeson in scoring position.

Drobnick smashed a two-run double, giving the Predators a quick 2-0 advantage.

Keefer’s RBI single to left field brought in a hustling Dropnick, upping the lead to 3-0. Heane kept the rally going, blasting in Drobnick and Keefer on a RBI double of his own, making it 5-0.

With two outs, Hunter Thompson kept the inning alive as he hustled out a Milroy miscue, the only error in the contest.

After a single by teammate John Michael Maclay that put Thompson in scoring position, Saltzer helped his own cause smacking an RBI single, finishing the opening inning scoring at 6-0. A total of 12 batters came to the plate in the inning while roping five hits.

Saltzer was near perfect in the first inning, striking out two, walking one and forcing a fly out to keep the home team off the scoreboard.

The hits kept coming in the top of the second.

Lewistown batted around once again and added seven more hits and eight more runs up on the board. The inning was highlighted by a triple by Thompson and a double by Maclay. When the dust settled in the second, Milroy found itself down by a 14-0 deficit.

Despite their efforts, Milroy went down quietly in the second as Saltzer had total control of their bats.

With the game well out of reach, Lewistown upped its lead in the top of the third adding four more and posting an 18-0 advantage.

However, Milroy showed some pride and battled back in the bottom of the third to pick up three runs of its own and end not only the no-hitter bid but also the shut out.

With one out, Kyle Marker got the inning going on a walk. He was followed on base by Evan Pupo who also picked up a free pass to first via a base on balls.

Veteran leadership took over as Gearhart gave his team something to cheer about, roping a two-run single. Lutz finished the deal, roping a two-out double scoring Gearhart.

“That’s the way its been for us all year, we’ve been struggling,” Milroy coach Danny Knepp said. “We’re just trying to keep the guys going and keep their heads in the game.”

In the top of the fourth, the Predators put four more on the board, upping its lead to 22-3.

Kibe came in to take over for Saltzer and put down all three batters he faced, clinching the victory for Lewistown.